“The Printing of the Card”

David Ashley shows his lockup for the League's holiday card, which involved a tricky bit of registration.
Brenda Gallagher (left) and Linda Peterson.
It was a pleasantly crisp fall afternoon when BAL members and friends converged at the Ewing bunkhouse printshop for the Members' Open House. David Ashley oversaw the printing of this year's holiday card, a technical tour-de-force combining 21st and 19th century printing techniques. He gave a short description of the difficulties involved, and brought examples of creative lockup and makeready he employed.

Attendees sipped hot cider, sampled potuck snacks, and took turns at the press, while others folded cards and admired the newly-installed landscaping around the bunkhouse.

Laura Stinson collected pieces for the Ephemera Exchange, and those and other pieces brought by various members were offered for an informal Show and Tell. Particularly striking was a kimono-themed card designed and printed by David Ashley, and a collaborative postcard set including work by Kay Moller.

Photos: Kay Moller


 Linda Peterson gets ready to create a sheet of paste paper at Jeff Becker's class at the Lafayette Art Center, October 18. For more upcoming classes and events, please check our calendar.


What's Linda doing?  

Photo: Kay Moller

"Wanna buy a T-shirt?"

Kay Moller makes a pitch, while Tom Parson and Bob Greenlee discuss, Julie Seko observes.

"Sun drenched" might best describe the BAL's days at the Lafayette Peach Fest, except for 2005, when the sky opened up and dropped buckets, right at the day's end.

But this year, the steady drizzle of the preceding day continued. But in spite of the rain, spunky and soggy BAL volunteers hauled presses in the mud, did demos, gave out BAL brochures and grand opening flyers, and generally worked the amazingly steady crowds. We were visited by City Council members (one bearing hot coffee), an off-duty reporter, and lots of kids. And the Pilot Press showed its true mettle by printing under extreme conditions--all hail cast iron!

And they bought T-shirts. Lots of them. Surprising numbers of visitors turned out, creating a sea of umbrellas.

Late in the day, the tardy Colorado sun put in a guest appearance.

Tom Parson, above, invites the curious to print.

Left, L-R, Brenda Gallagher, Julie Seko, Margot Smit, Linda Peterson, and Evert Brown enjoy sunlight's welcome drying effects.

And thanks to: David Ashley, Paula Slick, Jeff Becker and Katia.








Who are these people?

What are they doing?

Eat Your Words, Boulder!


Past Edible Teas

See the Daily Camera Video

(excuse the commercial)



stands for pen,



Book Arts League members David Ashley, Tom Parson and Julia Seko recently took students at a Denver school for gifted kids on a “whirlwind tour of the written and printed word.”

Students in the Polaris Program at Ebert Elementary studying the Revolutionary War learned about calligraphy and how to work with the pen from David. The students picked two quotations, one from Tom Paine, and the other from Patrick Henry, and David set the type which Tom locked into the chase of a Curtis and Mitchell Columbian No.2 tabletop press, ca 1874. Each student was able to print two copies of a quote, and Julia demonstrated other printing basics with the students and showed them a small wooden model of a common press loaned by Rob Barnes.

A sheaf of thank-you letters sent to BAL expressed youthful enthusiasm for the history lesson in the book arts. Some kids were taken with the calligraphy instruction, while the press caught the imagination of others. One student in the K-5 program included a copyright notice on his thank you letter. “I liked learning about the origin of letters, and how they used to write a long time ago,” wrote one. One aspiring calligrapher wrote, “It’s going to be fun to go home and show my family,” but another student was less optimistic. “I think I will not become a calligrapher,” he admitted. “It is too hard and requires a lot of patience. I would prefer to be a pro soccer player.”

Others were drawn to the press. “I would like to thank you for the enjoying experience of learning to print. I had much fun and I would love to do it again,” wrote one possible future Book Arts League member. “The printing machine fascinated me and I really enjoyed the experience.” Another budding letterpress enthusiast promised, “I will keep the saying I printed forever as a rememberence of you.”

The Polaris Program at Ebert is “the first time a program dedicated to meeting the needs of highly gifted and high achieving students has operated in an independent site in the Denver Public Schools, and is the only such school,” according to information on the Polaris website.

The presentation was hosted by Librarian Gail Axt. Although one letter hinted at slight reservations, saying, “Some people might not have liked it but I did!” another said “it was 10x better then I expected.” Others expressed the hope the League would return to the school again. “Thank you so much for spending time with us I loved a lot I hope you can come again.” Just in case that message didn’t come through, the writer included a “P.S. Please, Please, Please come again.”

The feeling was mutual. “The students were enthusiastic and fascinated by these early beginnings of our communications technology and really appreciated the historical importance of these traditional crafts. It was great fun,” said BAL President Julia Seko. The League looks forward to visiting the kids at Polaris at Ebert again soon.

Photos courtesy Gail Axt. Top: Julie, Middle: David, Bottom:Tom.


The BAL held its first workshop in the newly-restored Bunkhouse at the Ewing Farm on February 2.
The workshop, taught by Julie Seko and David Ashley, used basic letterpress skills to create a personalized Valentine's Day Card.

Photos by Bonnie Mettler
Above and below, left: Kate Flynn and David Ashley
Left: Paula Slick (L) and Kari Bakken
Below, right: Elizabeth Winheld


 Members’ Holiday Open House

Vic Barkin, of Vic Barkin Consulting, helps Julie Seko introduce some future printers to one of the League's Vandercook proof presses.
Book Arts League Members and guests took time from holiday preparations to help print the League's holiday card and for a preview of the League's letterpress studio in the newly renovated Bunkhouse, at the historic Ewing Farm.

Left: Vernon Ewing, 91, inspects a newly-printed sheet. The Ewing family bought the farm in 1883, and Vernon was one of the four Ewing sons who slept and studied in The Bunkhouse while growing up on the farm.

   Photos: Bonnie Mettler




THE Ephemera Exchange, an annual collation of small printed pieces, was introduced to the BAL in 1993 by Gail Watson [left] and she has collated and packaged the popular collection every year since.

Volunteers assemble the 2007 X-change

Left: (L-R) Bonnie Mettler, Tracey Bellehumeur, Julie Seko, Gail Watson
Above: Louise Padden, Bonnie, Nancy Warnke

Laura Stinson will assume the Curator's job starting with next year's X-change.

Photos: Evert Brown

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